The cookbook shelf, a place to proudly sit your favourite collections of recipes that are on hand for inspiration and ideas. As well as cookbooks there are also some great non-fiction reads that are really inspiring, that delve deep into what food is, where it comes from and opens your eyes to the bigger picture. Below we have listed our top ten that have us inspired us over the years. So the next time you are on the lookout out for a new read, give one of these a go.
Matthew Pennington - The Ethicurean Cookbook
We have been working with Matthew and his brother Iain from The Ethicurean for a number of years now. What they do is truly inspiring. Situated within the walled gardens of a dilapidated estate, deep in the rolling hills of the Bristol countryside is a gem of a restaurant. Utilising produce grown in the kitchen garden and working with the seasons is a vital component of The Ethicurean's ethos, and one that they explain in this beautifully written and put together recipe book. Working with seasonality and local producers is key. This book is full of inspirational recipes that'll get your inner gardener and chef wanting to forage in the great outdoors as well as book a table at the restaurant.
Louise Gray - The Ethical Carnivore
Louise Gray wanted to know where the meat she was eating came from and set herself a mission to find out. From delving deep into industrialised cheap meat production, discovering how mass-produced burgers are made and why chicken and bacon is so cheap in supermarkets. Visiting abattoirs where animals are killed and understanding how the end of life happens.
Along with her path of discovery, Louise stalks prey and kills food to eat. Her book is a real eye-opener and engaging read about many food practices that take place throughout the country. As the demand for mass-produced meat grows, Louise argues that eating less meat is vital for the environment and for the future. With humour about the real challenges with making decisions about choosing where to get meat from she answers the hard question, can you be an ethical carnivore?
Hattie Ellis - Planet Chicken
Planet Chicken is an eye-opening account of the daily life of the bird we eat and mistreat the most.
The battery egg may be unfashionable now, but most chickens we eat are far from free range. During their short, unnaturally accelerated lives they face the consequences of fast farming. Tens of thousands can live in one windowless shed, standing or sitting in their own droppings, and suffering the distinctive 'hock-burn' seen in the birds on supermarket shelves.
In Hattie's book she traces the chicken's evolution and the history of farming revealing the grotesque scandal of today's chicken factories. But she also talks to chicken lovers across the world- from British farmers, including us. This is a hard-hitting factual read but one that is so important in learning about the way chicken is produced around the world.
River Cottage - The Meat Book
A book we couldn't be without. It is packed full of knowledge that is incredibly detailed. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall encourages the reader to really think about the meat they are consuming. Is it really good enough? Have the animals lived well? How has the carcass been hung? What were they fed on?
Along with tips on how to cook eat cut to perfection and to think about what you cook in thrifty ways it's a great addition to any carnivores kitchen.
Dan Barber - The Third Plate
Today's farm to table revolution has a dark secret. The local food movement has failed to change how we eat. In this visionary book, Dan offers a radical way of thinking from the ground up.
He talks about looking to the future and to the 'third plate' whereby good cooking, as well as good farming practices, come together. This book challenges you to think differently about food and to imagine a system in the future that really is sustainable. It's a great read and although based on American farming and food it resonates with us, we all must do our bit to ensure the future of food is sustainable for the next generation.
Bee Wilson - The First Bite
When it comes to eating, it all starts when we are but a few months old. We all drink milk and then after that, it's all up for grabs. Bee's book is a really intriguing read that opens up our mind to how we think, look and interact with food.
How we must learn and figure out food for ourselves from an early age, what the origins of taste are and once we've acquired habits with certain foods, can we ever change them, or is it too deeply instilled within? This book is a great read, we couldn't put it down after a few paragraphs.
Naomi Devlin - Food for a happy gut
Naomi is an inspiration. As a teacher at River Cottage cookery school and having an intolerance to gluten she delves deep into gut health. What do we really need for our bodies to function? What is in the food we eat? Naomi's book is a great book for any home cook to have to hand. Full of nutritiously body benefitting recipes that will help to restore your inner health as well as your mind. We really enjoy her recipes and use them regularly for mid-week meals. Her 'Lick your fingers chicken' recipe is simple yet one of the best.
Michael Pollen - In defense of food
This book is a celebration of food and one that explains how we got to where we are, buying foods that are labelled with all sorts of health claims that have no meaning to them. It's a must-read for anyone who believes that what you eat directly affects your health.
Jenny Linford - The missing ingredient
Jenny Linford's book is simply a joy to read. In our fast-paced lives we often forget to stop, to appreciate time. From the weeks it takes to ferment foods, the hours it takes to sun ripen tomatoes, to the minutes it takes to make caramel, the seconds it takes to make a beurre noisette without it burning and counting the time to a steak cooked to absolute perfection, Jenny looks into this vital often overlooked ingredient, time. This book helps us to better understand what it takes to create wonderful food. A great book that we thoroughly enjoyed reading.
Felicity Lawrence - Not on the label
In 2004 Felicity went undercover and delved into the food industry to discover what really went into what we eat. Along with finding out that bread is packed full of water, salad leaves are sprayed more than 5 times with chemicals before they are then vac packed and labelled fresh, and the reason why beef wastage ends up in some chicken products. Her findings are truly eye-opening. Although a few years old this book is a really insightful read that is a must for ethical carnivores.